SB Nation has been running an excellent video series titled Rewinder, where iconic moments in sports are revisited. The videos detail the events that led to that moment, putting the viewer in the mindset of a fan from that era. Their most recent NFL-based video features the Malcolm Butler interception in Super Bowl XLIX. It highlights the players and plays that helped Seattle make it to the championship game, as well as cover Butler’s transition from undrafted rookie to hero.
As of now, the Detroit Lions have yet to be featured on the series, which could be a positive and a negative. On one hand, the Lions have yet to have any truly iconic moments in sports history, a lot of which is attributed to their lack of playoff success; the playoffs only serve to heighten the grandeur of a moment. On the bright side, it also means that the Lions have avoided infamy. They were not the Jets and their Butt Fumble. They did not lose the Super Bowl by a yard. They did not get walked-off by Tim Tebow in the playoffs. All in all, it could be worse for the Lions.
That leads into today’s Question of the Day:
Which Lions moment could be featured on Rewinder?
My answer: As mentioned above, the Lions have yet to go far in the playoffs, which hurts their status. Nonetheless, I can think of three moments where the Lions really shined:
1. Lions vs. Browns, 2009
This was the moment that solidified Matthew Stafford as the Lions’ franchise quarterback. With a record of 1-8 heading into this game, the Lions were once again looking at another losing season. First overall pick Stafford showed guts and leadership on this game-winning drive, highlighted by him returning from injury to throw a touchdown. Sure, the Lions finished 2-14, but this was a superstar moment for the young player.
2. Lions vs. Cowboys, 2013
Speaking of superstar moments for Stafford, this game against the Cowboys was possibly his magnum opus. He finished this game with 488 passing yards. Calvin Johnson finished with 329 receiving yards. Despite those incredible numbers, it was the finale that made this game iconic. Marching down to the goal line, Stafford opted to go for a quarterback sneak. The twist? Nobody on either team expected this. It was exciting, it was stunning, and it was fun. The entire game is available on Youtube, and I would highly recommend re-watching it.
3. Lions vs. Cowboys, 1991
Throwing back to the Lions’ last playoff victory (that hurt to write), we got a vintage Barry Sanders moment. Making people miss is what Sanders did best, and on this play he made nearly the entire Cowboys defense look stupid. Despite this being one of my favorite runs of all-time, it lacks the drama to elevate it into an iconic moment. At the time, the score was 31-6 in favor of the Lions, so this incredible run was more of a nail-in-the-coffin than a game-changing play.
There are also a few negative moments that could be featured, but in hindsight are mainly memorable to just Lions fans. The Lions vs. Cowboys playoff game, where a pass interference flag was controversially picked up was quite significant to Lions fans, but a lot of the national media has glossed over this event, especially in wake of the Saints getting robbed by a missed call in the playoffs this past season.
Speaking of controversial calls, the Lions losing to the Seahawks in 2015 thanks to a batted ball could be featured, but once again falls into the category of being infamous just for Lions fans.
Thankfully, the Lions have not had other controversial calls in their recent history. Absolutely nothing that affected the outcome of the game. Nothing that would be memorable. Nothing that would be an iconic moment in a bitter rival’s history. Nope. I cannot think of one. None whatsoever.